Doobie or not doobie? That is the question, Bard… Effort made to open Shakespeare grave to see if he smoked pot

By Stephanie Pappas

A South African anthropologist has asked permission to open the graves of William Shakespeare and his family to determine, among other things, what killed the Bard and whether his poems and plays may have been composed under the influence of marijuana.

But while Shakespeare’s skeleton could reveal clues about his health and death, the question of the man’s drug use depends on the presence of hair, fingernails or toenails in the grave, said Francis Thackeray, the director of the Institute for Human Evolution at the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, who floated the proposal to the Church of England.

Thackeray conducted a study in 2001, which found evidence of marijuana residue on pipe fragments found in Shakespeare’s garden. Cannabis was grown in England at the time and was used to make textiles and rope. Some Shakespearian allusions, including a mention of a “noted weed” in Sonnet 76, spurred Thackeray’s inquiry into whether Shakespeare may have used the mind-altering drug for inspiration.

“If there is any hair, if there is any keratin from the fingernails or toenails, then we will be in a position to undertake chemical analysis on extremely small samples for marijuana,” Thackeray told LiveScience.

A poet’s curse
Whether or not Shakespeare smoked pot, he certainly didn’t want his remains disrupted. The stone covering the poet’s grave carries an engraved curse for any would-be intruders.

“Blessed be the man that spares these stones,” the engraving reads, “And cursed be he who moves my bones.”

Thackeray said he has a way around the Bard’s curse.

“We don’t want to move any of the bones,” he said.

Instead, Thackeray said, the team plans to use a technique called laser surface scanning. With a portable device, he said, the anthropologists can open the graves and digitally scan the skeletons of buried in the graves that are supposed to belong to Shakespeare, his wife Anne Hathaway and his daughter Susanna without moving the bones. The scans could then be turned into three-dimensional computer models of the bones and skulls. From this information, the researchers can build facial reconstructions to confirm the skeletons’ identities and look for markers of health and signs of disease in the bones.

Thackeray also pointed out a loophole in Shakespeare’s curse.

“He does not refer to teeth,” he said.

A very small sample of the inner portion of Shakespeare’s tooth could provide DNA to definitively link him to the skeletons of his wife and daughter, Thackeray said. Chemical analysis of teeth can also reveal details about a person’s diet as well as their smoking habits, though not whether he preferred tobacco or Mary Jane. Skeletons from Virginia of people who lived during Shakespeare’s time show grooves between the canine and incisor teeth from habitual chewing on a pipe, Thackeray said. If Shakespeare was a habitual smoker, his own teeth might bear such grooves.

Digging up Shakespeare
A Church of England spokesperson told last week that they had not received a petition from Thackeray to open the grave, which is located in the Church of the Holy Trinity in Stratford-upon-Avon. But Thackeray said the paperwork is in.

“The application has been submitted,” he told LiveScience. “We are now just simply waiting for a formal response. … We respect the fact that it will take time to have our proposal examined and assessed.”

Uncovering Shakespeare’s bones could provide more information about the man behind “Hamlet” and “King Lear” than ever before, Thackeray said, adding that “there is very little known about his life.”

But other anthropologists are skeptical. Analyzing the skeleton could reveal whether Shakespeare had certain conditions such as osteoporosis, Kristina Killgrove, a professor of anthropology at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, told LiveScience. But determining cause of death is more difficult, unless the disease or disorder is one that affects the bones, she said.

And while the public may clamor for more information on historical icons, the scientific knowledge gleaned from such projects doesn’t always add much to what is already known about an era, Killgrove said.

“I’m not a big fan of opening up the tombs of Mona Lisa or Shakespeare to see how they died,” she said. “I’m not really sure what it will tell us other than the lifestyle of somebody in Elizabethan England.”

Big Brother About To Take Over Medical Marijuana In Colorado

As many of you know, rules and regulations are changing rapidly in Colorado, and it’s very important that patients and medical marijuana operators in the state know what’s going on, so they don’t find themselves walking right into the arms of law enforcement.

Beginning July 1st, all medical marijuana centers in Colorado will have shorter operating hours – forced to be closed by 8 p.m. statewide – background checks for employees, and video surveillance of growing cannabis plants and finished products.

Since growing and selling cannabis is illegal under federal law, MMC’s will be making complete video records of all their activities for perusal by federal law enforcement, i.e the DEA.

If that’s not enough intrusion by the state, medical marijuana caregivers – those who grow for less than 5 patients – are going to be forced to register with the state, revealing their grow sites and what they are growing, leaving them open to the same problems that are going to face the bigger dispensaries.

The Cannabis Therapy Institute recently sent out an email alert about the situation in Colorado, and gave the following advice to those in the state.

CTI encourages all patients and MMC-applicant-employees to CONSULT AN ATTORNEY before they continue to shop or work at an MMC after July 1 to make sure that their privacy rights and 4th and 5th amendment rights are preserved.

The CTI says MMC employees and patients need to be aware of their rights because they are leaving themselves open to future prosecution.

If an MMC is selling marijuana in Colorado without a license, there is the potential that the DOR will at some point deny them a license and target them as a criminal enterprise. If this happens, anyone that shopped or worked at the unlicensed MMC may be put under criminal investigation as well.

MMC employees are being asked to surrender large volumes of personal and financial information to the DOR and submit to an extensive criminal background investigation, including photographs and fingerprints sent to the FBI. Westword reported in two articles today about the rush for employees to register with the DOR. But many are questioning the intelligence of this, because none of the MMC-employers have been granted state licenses. This means employees are signing up to work at UNLICENSED, potentially “criminal” businesses, for the next year.

Politicians and officials in Colorado are not unaware of what these new rules are going to do. They want less medical marijuana; less access and less patients. It’s almost as if some states are little high school freshman, desperately seeking the approval of the cool senior (Uncle Sam). “See, we are destroying the medical marijuana industry, just like you wanted.”

Sadly, voters and activists in states like Colorado won medical marijuana victories, but have not dislodged  the political cliques that remain, hell-bent on wiping out medical marijuana. This must be the next step, since these same politicians will be there to attack recreational legalization in whatever state it comes to.

The voters can make their will known, and can even make it law. But the politicians can then come behind them and decimate the voter’s will, and even wipe it out if need be.

Legislation and ballot measures are important, but so is who you vote for to be your representative, at the local, state, and federal levels.

Joe Klare

Medical Marijuana: Who’s Looking Out for Consumer Safety? Find Your Bud on Weedmaps

Within seconds, the Weedmaps app finds a user’s nearest dispensaries for medical marijuana. It is a remarkable change for anyone who remembers when pot distribution was once handled primarily through clandestine exchanges and pager numbers. Today, it is now legally sold at more than 2,400 dispensaries in 16 states. For thousands of people around the country, cannabis is an alternative, natural medical treatment for the symptoms of many illnesses, including cancer, multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis.

Last week, U.S. Reps Barney Frank (D-Mass.) and Ron Paul (R-Texas) introduced a bill in Congress that would remove the federal prohibition on marijuana and let states produce, regulate and tax it. It is potentially a watershed moment for the medical marijuana movement, though it’s unclear how much legislative traction the bill will achieve. However, it shifts the debate from a moral to an economic one, and raises a number of consumer safety issues.

Who Is In Charge of Quality Assurance?

Medical marijuana, of which there are dozens of varieties and potencies, is not regulated by any central authority, such as the Food and Drug Administration or the USDA. Consumer safety issues are almost entirely dealt with within the industry, and efforts are driven in large part by pioneers of the medical marijuana movement along with consumers. The Weedmaps app, for example, has a whistle-blowing thread in the community forum so that users can share information about vendors whose product doesn’t meet quality standards.

Industry leaders argue that some kind of standardization or quality control is essential to the long-term success of marijuana as a medical treatment. “If you are going to sell medicine, then you need something more than ‘Here is a jar with some dried vegetable matter,’ ” says Allen St. Pierre, the executive director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML).

In California and Colorado, a cottage industry of testing labs has sprung up alongside high-end marijuana medical centers, like the Harborside Health Center in Oakland, Calif., which has rigorous product testing for the medical products it sells, including dried herbs, tinctures, sprays, medibles and sublingual drops.

Top of Form

Bottom of Form

For now, it is unclear whether marijuana will be treated like traditional pharmaceuticals when it comes to quality control, or if it will fall under agricultural regulations like tobacco. The tobacco industry has been largely self-regulated and only last year was ordered to submit its products to the FDA for testing and labeling. Under current laws, marijuana is dispensed in the state where it is grown, leading to a wide range of gardening and processing practices.

Steve DeAngelo, executive director of Harborside and a longtime cannabis activist, says the Frank-Paul bill is crucial for the industry. Without it, he worries that “all the people who come now [to dispensaries] will be forced into the illegal market.” DeAngelo proposes that consumer oversight for the plant take shape like nutrition and supplement regulations, in a new category called cannaceuticals.

Consumer Safety Issues

For medical users, the plant’s cannabinoids provide medicinal properties. The two main compounds of interest include THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), which produces a stronger head high or “spacy” feeling, and CBD (cannabidiol), which produces a stronger physical sensation. Labs and dispensaries can use chromatography to measure cannabinoid levels, and other inspection techniques to check for yeasts, molds and fungi.

Differing levels of cannabinoids change how the drug works, and patients will have different needs. For example, a user undergoing chemotherapy might look for marijuana with low THC and higher CBD levels that provides the physical relief, but also allows them to keep a clear enough head to work.

While up-market dispensaries and testing labs provide analysis of cannabinoid levels, the burden falls to consumers and individual operators to make that information transparent. The lack of transparency is especially worrisome when it comes to other contaminants that can be picked up along the supply chain, from pesticides to bacteria and microorganisms. A mold called aspergillus, most commonly found on crops grown indoors, is especially dangerous for those with weakened immune systems, such as people with cancer or HIV-related illnesses.

John Oram, co-founder of cannabis testing lab CW Analytical in California, says between 5% and 10% of the marijuana his lab tests is contaminated. Oram’s lab looks at approximately 150 samples a week, and each sample is taken from a pound or two batch of marijuana. DeAngelo says Harborside only accepts 10% of the marijuana presented to the dispensary, and all of that is tested. Of that, only 1% to 2% is found to be unsafe.

Coming Soon: Brand-Name Marijuana

California’s Mendocino County, where the rugged, mixed-climate terrain is ideal for growing marijuana outdoors, is one of the top pot producing regions in the country (along with its neighbor Humboldt County). It is also the only county to have standardized oversight for quality on the supply side. That is a fact that Matt Cohen is trying to leverage into a label.

Cohen is the co-founder of MendoGrown, which he says will be a gold standard for medical marijuana. The certification will assure quality and supply chain, that the pot has been grown by and processed by licensed producers, and that environmental and worker protection measures are in place. By this fall, Cohen says MendoGrown-certified marijuana will be on the market in California.

“We are trying to brand our county as the Napa of cannabis, and we are setting the bar very high,” he says.

What to Look for in Your Medical Marijuana

For now, medical marijuana users have to rely on dispensary guidelines and each other for information about the product. Here are a few questions for medical marijuana users to ask their providers:

1. Do you know where the pot is coming from? “Ask if your dispensary is getting it from a regulated source, not some kid’s basement,” Cohen says. He says it is important for dispensaries to have solid relationships with growers. Harborside’s DeAngelo also says getting more information about the garden is important to know what kind of horticultural practices were used.

2. Has the medical marijuana been lab tested? Working with your physician and other client referrals, medical marijuana users can get a better understanding of what products would work best for their condition. Looking at the lab results for different varieties reveals the levels of THC and CBD.

3. Where and how is the product packaged? Like other medicines, marijuana should be packaged and handled in a sterile environment to avoid contamination, says DeAngelo. He advises buyers to look for prepackaged and sealed products and avoid dispensaries that package in front of you from a bin.


Love it or leave it, Weeds returns tonight, commencing Season 7 of Showtime’s stoner franchise. After three years, Nancy’s out of jail and living in halfway house in New York. “She’s back to basics as a pot dealer,” says the show’s creator Jenji Kohan. “It’s where she cut her teeth, what she’s good at and what she likes. She needs to find her way back in. She needs something to trade and is starting out with nothing. Nancy just wants to get back to what she knows how to do.When Weeds left off in 2010 Nancy (Top CelebStoner Mary-Louise Parker) took the rap for Shane’s murder of Pilar in a twisty final episode. “Bags” starts with Nancy leaving jail and planting a big kiss on her cellmate lover. A bus awaits and next she’s in a seedy neighborhood in New York, getting a lecture on the facility’s rules and regs.Meanwhile, the Botwin family – Andy, Shane and Silas, plus Doug (Kevin Nealon) – are holed up in hash-happy Christiana. Kohan predicts friction in the family, especially with Silas (Hunter Parrish), who has a thriving model career going in Denmark. Also, Martin Short will play Nancy’s lawyer and Aiden Quinn is cast as one of her several lovers this season.

Drs Successfully Treat OCD with MMJ

Obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD) is basically an anxiety disorder characterized by intrusive thoughts that produce apprehension, fear, uneasiness or worry by repetitive behaviors aimed at reducing the associated anxiety. Unnecessary repetition of activities such as washing, cleaning, and hoarding during the day or being preoccupied with thoughts of coitus, violence, and religious ideologies as well as disgust of specific numbers are the main hints of a person suffering from OCD.


OCD is a treatable disease. With adequate therapy and correct counseling by experienced psychiatrist and physicians, the intensity of the disease can be decreased in little time. Effective treatments for obsessive-compulsive disorder are now easily available, and fresh researches are yielding new and improved therapies that can help people with OCD and other anxiety disorders lead productive, fulfilling lives.

Some doctors even say that Medical Marijuana (Cannabis) can also help in eliminating the disease. Dr. Breen of Southern California insisted that he has been successful in treating two patients with OCD via medical Marijuana. He shared, “Today I had two patients who have been successfully treating their symptoms of obsessive compulsive disorder with medical marijuana. One was a 46-year-old man whose symptoms are primarily having ‘to check things all the time.’ He explained having to walk back to his car all the time to check his door locks etc. The second was an 18-year-old male who had the compulsion to try and touch the ceiling in a room. In both cases their symptoms were disruptive to their daily lives.

Amazingly both had been using cannabis with good results to control their symptoms.”

Moreover, Dr. Bennett, a pediatric psychologist at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center, observed that OCD, in its earlier stages, is more easily removed than in its later stages. He maintained that children and adolescent suffering from OCD must be given more attention to help them get rid of the anxiety and stress of OCD.

“Anxiety is a normal part of growing up, but when it interferes with school, friendships or family life, we recommend parents seek treatment for their child. If a family is going to extreme measures to accommodate their child’s anxiety, or if their child has a problem with involuntary movements or vocalizations, we can offer help,” says Dr. Bennett.

By, Sanain – based in New York City, New York, United States of America, and is Anchor for Allvoices

Editorial: Michigan must rewrite Dopey Medical Marijuana law

Clearer lines are needed between medicinal marijuana and its illegal cousin

by,The Detroit News 

After Michigan voters legalized the use of marijuana for medical reasons, it was up to the state to write rules for who would be allowed to legally use pot, and how they would obtain it.

What was produced was an unworkable mess that has failed to draw a clear line between patients and criminals and hasn’t given local communities much help in clarifying what’s legal and what isn’t.

What Michigan has is a hybrid law that makes some pot use legal, but allows the distribution of medicinal pot to flow through channels very similar to the ones used by the criminal networks.

The first priority in reworking the law is to create a more orderly distribution system.

If marijuana is medicine, it should be treated as controlled medications are treated. Patients who qualify for medicinal marijuana should get a prescription from a legitimate physician, licensed in Michigan.

They should then have the prescription filled with product that is produced by a licensed company and monitored by the state for quality and dosage.

Current law allows medical marijuana patients to grow their own pot, along with enough to supply a few fellow patients.

It’s most often sold through outlets that greatly resemble the head shops that market illegal narcotics paraphernalia.

That treats marijuana more as an herbal cure than a legitimate medicine.

Patients who are given a prescription for Vicodin, for example, can’t buy the ingredients themselves, go home and mix up a patch of pills and share them with their friends.

Moving the distribution to traditional outlets for medicine would ease the burden on local police and prosecutors of determining which distributors are legitimate, and which are criminal.

Communities rightly complain that they can’t easily tell the growers and sellers of medicinal marijuana from their criminal counterparts.

That’s an unfair position in which to place local officials.

At the same time, legitimate patients should not face constant hassle from cops.

The state also must get a handle on who qualifies as a medical marijuana patient. Since the law passed, more than 50,000 patients have been given certificates to allow them to use pot. Many of the “prescriptions” were written by Internet doctors, or en masse by a single physician.

Michigan should have an orderly process of deciding who can write prescriptions, and that function should be limited to legitimate medical personnel.

Voters never intended for the medicinal marijuana law to open the door for quasi-criminal networks to profit from its growth and distribution.

Some clarification of how the law should be applied could come when the state Supreme Court rules on several cases involving medical marijuana.

They have a high hurdle because the medical marijuana statute was an initiative and requires a vote of three-fourth of the members of the Legislature for amendment, but lawmakers should provide the structure for implementing this law in a way that clearly distinguishes medical marijuana from the illegal recreational variety.

SHUT UP! sez, Tommy Chong to US Drug Czar as Medical MARIJUANA Debate HEATS UP!

President Obama, with one quick signature, could remove a huge hurdle in the war on drugs, marijuana icon Tommy Chong said Friday on CNN.

Minutes before the actor and comedian told a former advisor to the White House drug czar to “shut up,” Chong said Obama has the power to move pot off the same list where other drugs like LSD and heroin reside (Schedule 1) to a less restrictive list (Schedule 2) where drugs like opium and morphine reside and which can be prescribed by doctors.

“All President Obama has to do is sign an executive order rescheduling marijuana from Schedule 1, which says it has no medical use whatsoever, to a Schedule 2, which would allow it to be sold by prescription only. Then we’d be all done,” Chong said on the CNN show “In The Arena.”

Paul Chabot, a former White House senior advisor to the director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy and founder of the Coalition for a Drug Free California, naturally had issues with the co-star of “Cheech and Chong’s Up in Smoke” as well as with Reps. Ron Paul (R-Texas) and Barney Frank (D-Mass.), who Thursday introduced HR 2306, a bill that would shift enforcement of marijuana laws to the states.

“It’s very disappointing to have two grown adults pushing a marijuana agenda,” Chabot said, adding, “Shame on Barney Frank and Ron Paul, a very big disappointment for American leadership.”

Chabot, a Republican who unsuccessfully ran for California Assembly in 2010, continued: “We have woken up to the medical fraud marijuana problem that’s skirted all around our nation. Times are changing. It will be back to community and family values.”

And that was when Chong, who was imprisoned for 9 months for selling glass bongs, began to get angry.

Chong: Do you know Montel Williams? Montel Williams has MS. It’s a debilitating disease that he keeps under control by using marijuana.


CHONG: Melissa Ethridge, Melissa Ethridge suffered from cancer and she survived through the use of marijuana.

CHABOT: Got it.

CHONG: Shut up for a minute. Let me finish.

CHABOT: Very disappointing.

CHONG: It has medical use. That lie you just said where it had no medical use whatsoever, it’s a lie.

Chabot isn’t alone in believing that marijuana has no medical use. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith said his panel, which the Paul/Frank weed bill is required to venture through, would not even consider it because of several factors, including marijuana’s lack of medical benefits.

“Marijuana use and distribution is prohibited under federal law because it has a high potential for abuse and does not have an accepted medical use in the U.S.,” Smith said on Thursday.

Candidate Obama in 2004 called the war on drugs “an utter failure,” and although he said he did not believe marijuana should be legalized, he said the weed should be decriminalized.

Here is the link to the Video:

Reefer Madness: Alive And Well In The Federal Government!

NORML PSA: Ask Rep Lamar Smith to Give Ending Fed. Marijuana Prohibition Act a Hearing!

By: Erik Altieri, NORML Communications Coordinator

Almost as if on cue from a movie director, the head of the Judiciary Committee in the US House of Representatives, ‘conservative’ Republican from Texas Lamar Smith, has provided both cannabis law reformers and the general public a typical up-close view of why the US Congress—the creator of Cannabis Prohibition laws in 1937 and later the Controlled Substances Act of 1970—rarely seems to work the way it was intended. One person, either ignorant or uninformed, can block consideration of a controversial political issue if he or she wishes to do so. And the ability to do this only increases with time, as the legislator gains seniority and become a committee or subcommittee chairperson.

Rep. Smith, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, responded to press inquiries yesterday about the new federal legalization bill, that will be referred to his committee, saying he had no intention of considering the bill, or even giving it a public hearing. Unfortunately, under current Congressional rules, a committee chairman is given great discretion regarding what bills to consider, and which to ignore, and it is only when another member or members of that committee, or the general public, make a big deal out of it that sometimes one can overcome the stiff opposition of a committee chair.

One promising fact is that the ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, Rep. John Conyers, JR, is a co-sponsor of HB 2306, and should serve as a counter-balance to the opposition of the chairman.

Smith’s anti-cannabis salvo against the new legalization bill should inspire cannabis consumers and activists to redouble their efforts this year to get as many co-sponsors as possible for HR 2306, and to recruit and elect political candidates to Congress who no longer embrace reefer madness or favor continuing—possibly for another 74 years—the status quo of arresting another cannabis consumer every 35 seconds in America.

NORML and our supporters decided to reach out to Representative Smith today, to let him know we considered HR 2306 sound public policy that deserved a hearing. Instead of addressing the concerns of the general public, Smith removed his page from Facebook and wiped it clean of any and all comments posted in support of the bill. Further commenting was also disabled on the page. Once one too many calls began coming into his congressional offices and the extension for the House Judiciary Committee, a prerecorded message was posted stating that his office was closed (it wasn’t, their operating hours on Friday are posted as until 6pm EST).

Even President Barack Obama has stated he considers legalization a legitimate topic for debate, so why is Rep. Lamar Smith stonewalling the legislation?

NORMLtv is now streaming a new PSA targeting Smith and his refusal to engage this issue in a productive and rational way, which you can view above. We encourage you to continue contacting the chairman through his contact information listed below.

Rep. Lamar Smith
DC Office: 202-225-4236 (8:30 am- 6:00 pm EST)
TX Office: 210-821-5024 (8:00 am- 5:00 pm CT)

You can also use NORML’s Take Action Center by clicking here and easily message your elected officials to encourage their support of this important legislation. Over 3,000 of you already have, let’s keep the pressure on!

We appreciate your support and especially want to thank those who have been helping us push this issue today with Chairman Smith. We will be back in touch soon to ask for your further help as we find new ways to push this new legislation forward.


Bob Marley would have been proud.

Actress Cameron Diaz, promoting her new film Bad Teacher on Tuesday’s Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, had this message to share with America: “Weed is Awesome!”

According to Diaz, Elizabeth is obsessed with getting a boob job, drinks on the job and encourages another teacher to get high.

“I’m like, ‘Hold it in, hold it in!’ … Weed is awesome! … that was what my character says, that’s not what I say,” Diaz joked.

“Nice save there,” Fallon said.

“I think this weed — this movie — Freudian [slip]!” Diaz said.

Bad Teacher co-star Justin Timberlake recently admitted that he has smoked a doobie. Timberlake last week told Playboy he “absolutely” smokes marijuana as “some people are just better high.”

Bad Teacher, which co-stars Jason Segel, opens nationwide Friday.

Always on my Mind! Willie Nelson urges everyone to Support Marijuana Legalization with latest Public Service Announcement for NORML


Today, a bi-partisan group of representatives introduced the first federal bill since 1937 aimed at ending marijuana prohibition. To coincide with the bill’s introduction NORML is launching a new public service announcement featuring NORML Advisory Board member, country music icon, and cannabis enthusiast Willie Nelson. In the video below, Willie calls on you to support this important legislation and to contact your elected officials and encourage them to do the same.